John C Moritz, USA Today Network
AUSTIN – Democrats can claim some credit for killing the bathroom bill. Not so much with their legislative muscle, but because their progressive allies came to the Capitol in droves to keep the issue in the headlines while the business community did the nitty-gritty political work of lobbying lawmakers.
But take away that victory and there’s not a lot for the long-out-of-power party to crow about now that the dust has settled on the 20-week regular legislative session and the 29-day special session that ended last week.
That’s why several left-leaning organizations and operatives made a bit of show at a Capitol rally one day after lawmakers left Austin and Republican Gov. Greg Abbott decided to poke House Speaker (and fellow Republican) Joe Straus in the eye for blocking the bathroom bill and a few other issues important to the GOP base.
The star attraction at the rally was U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, the twin brother of Julian Castro, the ex-San Antonio mayor who was later part of President Obama’s cabinet.
Congressman Castro gave the sign-holding progressives what they wanted – to a point.
He called Abbott a “bully” for pushing an agenda to further restrict abortion rights, punish cities that don’t cooperate with federal immigration authorities and tie the hands of local elected leaders on issues like property development and cell phone use.